Dr. Jodi Melamed

Jodi Melamed
Dr. Jodi MelamedMarquette University

Marquette Hall, 225

MilwaukeeWI53201United States of America
(414) 288-7612



Jodi Melamed is professor of English and Race, Ethnic, and Indigenous Studies at Marquette University. For spring semester 2024 she will serve as the Norman Freehling Professor at the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan.

She is the author of Represent and Destroy: Rationalizing Violence in the New Racial Capitalism (Minnesota UP, 2011), co-editor of Economies of Dispossession: Indigeneity, Race, Capitalism (with Jodi A. Byrd, Alyosha Goldstein, and Chandan Reddy), a special issue of the journal Social Text.  Her influential essay, “Racial Capitalism,” is among the most cited articles in the journal Critical Ethnic Studies. She has published widely on relational approaches to critical race and ethnic studies and gendered racial capitalism in widely cited essays including “Predatory Value: Economies of Dispossession and Disturbed Relationalities” (with Jodi A. Byrd, Alyosha Goldstein, and Chandan Reddy), “The Spirit of Neoliberalism: From Racial liberalism to neoliberal multiculturalism,” “Using Liberal Rights to Enforce Racial Capitalism” (with Chandan Reddy) and “ Don’t Arrest Me, Arrest the Police: Policing as the Street Administration of Colonial Racial Capitalism” (with Lisa Cacho)  

Her current book project, Operationalizing Racial Capitalism: From its Command Powers to its Undoing (with Chandan Reddy) is under contract with Verso Books  For today’s liberatory movements, it seeks to provide an understanding of how liberalism writ large functions as racial capitalist world-making praxis. Melamed and Reddy examine liberalism writ large not as a philosophy of freedom or just order, but as theory and practice of command. They examine liberalism’s key praxis-concepts – nation-state, (capitalist) law, property, security, citizenship and more – as nodal points for command apparatuses that are key to colonial racial capitalist operability. The intention of their operational account is not to make racial capitalism seem implacable, but to show that its doings are always threatened by protocols for making, continuing, and defending specific, grounded living  (Black, Indigenous, migrant and more). By refusing killability and authorizing mutual survival, such “other doings” evade and break state-capital violence circuits. Though pushed below or outside of ‘politics’ , as conventionally understood, such doings together are powerful, transformative forces.  

Professor Melamed is humbled to have received Marquette University’s top honors in teaching and research, including the Robert Mary Gettel Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence (2020) and a Way Klingler Humanities Fellowship (2022-2024). She has been a  Fulbright Scholar at the Humboldt University of Berlin (2012-13), a Fellow of the Portal Project Social Justice Think Tank, convened by Professor Barbara Ransby at the University of Illinois-Chicago (2020-2023),of the Race and Capitalism project, convened by Professor Michael Dawson at the University of Chicago (2017-2019).

Courses Taught

  • Africana Studies/Race, Ethnic, and Indigenous Studies
  • Film and Racial Capitalism
  • 20th and 21st century U.S. Literatures and Cultures
  • Cultural Studies/Gender and Sexuality Studies

Research Interests

  • Critical Race, Ethnic, and Indigenous studies
  • Gendered Colonial Racial Capitalisms in Global Perspective
  • American Studies
  • Intersectional and Abolitionist Feminisms
  • Queer of Color Critique
  • Social Movements
  • Colonialism, the Nation-State; Decolonization


  •  “W.E.B. Du Bois’s UnAmerican End, Reconsidered” Tyler Monson, co-author. No Deed But Memory. Phillip Luke Sinitiere, editor (University of Mississippi Press, 2023)
  • " ‘Don’t Arrest Me, Arrest the Police’: Uprisings against Policing as the Street Administration of Colonial Racial Capitalist Orders.” Lisa Cacho, co-author. Colonial Racial Capitalisms. Jodi Byrd, Lisa Cacho, Bryan Jordan Jefferson, and Susan Koshy, editors. September 2022
  • “How Police Abuse the Charge of Resisting Arrest.” Lisa Cacho, co-author. Boston Review. June 2020.  Web publication.  [Editor reviewed.] https://bostonreview.net/articles/lisa-cacho-jodi-melamed-resisting-arrest/

  • “Using Liberal Rights to Enforce Racial Capitalism.” Chandan Reddy, co-author. Items: Journal of the Social Science Research Council. (Race and Capitalism Forum, Michael Dawson and Megan Ming Francis, Editors). Web publication. July 30, 2019. https://items.ssrc.org/race-capitalism/using-liberal-rights-to-enforce-racial-capitalism/

  • Economies of Disposession: Indigeneity, Race, and Capitalism. Jodi Byrd, Alyosha Goldstein, and Chandan Reddy, co-editors.  A special issue of Social Text, no. 135 (June 2018). 168 pages.

  • "Predatory Value: Economies of Dispossession and Disturbed Relationalities." Co-authored with Jodi Byrd, Alyosha Goldstein, and Chandan Reddy. Social Text No. 135 (May 2018): 1-18.

  • "The Proliferation of Rights-Based Capitalist Violence and Pedagogies of CollectiveAction." American Quarterly Vol. 70, Issue 2 (June 2018): 179-189.

  • "Being Together Subversively, Outside in the University of Hegemonic Affirmation and Repressive Violence, As Things Heat Up (Again).” American Quarterly. 68.4 (Spring 2016). 980-991.

  • "Proceduralism, Predisposing, Poesis: Institutionality, In the Making.” Lateral: Journal of the Cultural Studies Association. Issue 5.1 (Spring 2016): Web. 7000 words. http://csalateral.org/wp/issue/5-1/forum-alt-humanities-institutionality-making-melamed/
  • "Post-marxism, American studies, and post-capitalist futures.” Approaches to American Cultural Studies. Eds. Antje Dallmann, Eva Boesenberg. New York: Routledge, 2016. 133-145.
  • “Racial Capitalism.” Journal of Critical Ethnic Studies 1.1. Spring 2015: 76-86.
  • "Diversity." Keywords for American Cultural Studies, Second Edition. Eds. Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler, New York, NY: New York University Press, 2014.
  • "Dangerous Associations." American Quarterly 66.2 (Summer 2014).
  • "Academic Freedom with Violence," co-authored with Roderick A. Ferguson, AAUG Journal of Academic Freedom, volume 4 (2013).
  • Represent and Destroy: Rationalizing Violence in the New Racial Capitalism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011.
  • "Reading Tehran in Lolita: Seizing Literary Value for Neoliberal Multiculturalsim." Strange Affinities: The Gender and Sexual Politics of Comparative Racialization. Eds. Grace Kyungwon Hong and Roderick Ferguson. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011
  • "The Killing Joke of Sympathy: Chester Himes's End of a Primitive Sounds the Limits of Mid-Century Racial Liberalism." American Literature 81 (Dec. 2008).
  • “The Ruptures of American Capital,” American Literature 79,4 (Winter 2007): 843-845.
  • “The Spirit of Neoliberalism: From Racial Liberalism to Neoliberal Multiculturalism,” Social Text 89 (Winter 2006): 1-25.
  • “W.E.B. Du Bois’s UnAmerican End,” African American Review 40 (Fall 2006): 533-550.

Honors and Awards

  • Way Klingler Humanities Fellowship (2022-2024)

  • Portal Project Fellow, University of Illinois Chicago, Social Justice Initiative (2021-2023)
  • Robert and Mary Gettel Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence (2020)

  • University Sabbatical Fellowship Award (2019-2020)

  • Fulbright Award (2012-2013)
  • Wisconsin Humanities Council Grants (2012. 2010, 2006)
  • James R. Grahl Research Fellow, University of Nebraska, Kearney and the Crane Trust (2012)
  • American Studies Association, Community Partnership Grant (2007)
  • Mellon Research Grant (2007)
  • Faculty Development Award, Marquette (2005)
  • Woodrow Wilson Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities (2002-2004)
  • Social Science Research Council Fellowship (2000-2003)
  • Columbia University Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy Fellowship (2001-2003)

Additional Information

Office Hours

Spring 2024

  • On Leave

Teaching Schedule

Spring 2024

  • On Leave

Faculty & Staff Directory


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